Feehery: GOP should look for spending compromise along with investigation of a compromised president 

I didn’t support impeaching Bill Clinton in the aftermath of 1998 elections. Although his conduct in the Oval Office was disgraceful, I thought a bipartisan censure would have been more impactful on President Clinton’s popularity ratings and would have put Congress on record as disapproving of the president’s actions. 

There is no censure option with Joe Biden.  

You are reading: Feehery: GOP should look for spending compromise along with investigation of a compromised president 

Either the president is running a fully corrupt family business, or he is being unfairly accused for the sins of his son.   

I don’t know which assertion is most accurate, which is why I fully support House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) initial efforts to launch an impeachment inquiry.   

When I first began working in the House of Representatives in 1989, impeachment was more of an idle threat than an actual parliamentary tactic. Sure, Democrats, such as Rep. Henry Gonzalez (D-Texas), threatened to impeach Ronald Reagan over Iran-Contra, and to impeach George H.W. Bush over the Gulf War, but those efforts weren’t taken seriously by the mainstream media or by Congress.  

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But things changed when Congress flipped to the Republicans and the White House flipped to the Democrats. Some Republicans were eager to oust the popular Bill Clinton over his many transgressions, including his dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.  

George W. Bush had the good fortune to have a Republican majority for six out of his eight years in the White House, so he was largely protected from any Democratic impeachment inquiries. Republicans knew that any effort to impeach Barack Obama would hurt them politically, so they largely demurred.  

Donald Trump’s threat to the established order was so profound that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) focused on Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. When the Mueller Report found scant evidence of any impeachable offense, the Democrats manufactured one when Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to give him dirt on Joe Biden.  

It may not have been the perfect phone call that Trump insists it was, but it was impeachable only for those who found Trump a menace to the status quo.   

It is too early to tell if McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry will lead to an actual vote to impeach, but there is enough smoke to find out if there is an actual fire.   

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Much of the media prefers smokescreens to smoke investigations. They keep saying there is no evidence that Biden personally benefitted from his son Hunter’s business arrangements with well-connected Ukrainian and Chinese powerbrokers.  

Of course Joe Biden benefitted from Hunter’s business arrangements. They shared a bank account. Money is fungible, influence is intangible and corruption is at least partly in the eye of the beholder. That the media will find it more difficult to ignore the legitimate investigation of President Biden is but one of the salutary impacts of this impeachment investigation.  

Of course, such inquiries don’t have to focus only on the Hunter and Joe relationship. As with other corruption investigations, these inquiries could lead to other, more troubling questions, such as what role the intelligence community might have played in the 2020 presidential campaign and how the Biden White House may have colluded with Big Tech to eviscerate the First Amendment, among others. 

But this impeachment inquiry will succeed only if Republicans can get out of their own way and keep the government open. A prolonged shutdown will only strengthen President Biden’s approval ratings and raise questions about the competence of Republican investigators.   

Some of the most ardent Biden critics are also among the most determined to shut down the government. But these hardliners can’t have it all. They can either thoroughly investigate the president or prepare for a long and painful budget standoff. I would choose a compromise on the spending bills and a comprehensive investigation into a compromised president. That’s the better path for the House GOP. 

Feehery, a partner at EFB Advocacy, blogs at thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).  

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